Zionist occupation fighters have shot dead Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank, making her the 12th Al Jazeera journalist to be killed in the line of duty since their launch in 1996.
The veteran journalist was killed by sniper attack while covering Israeli militant raids in refugee camps of Jenin, whilst she was wearing a press vest standing with other journalists.
Ali al-Samoudi, another Al Jazeera journalist, was also shot in the back, who is now in stable condition.
Abu Akleh has survived multiple attempts on her life in the past, and the assassination comes almost exactly a year after the Zionist occupation targeted The Associated Press news agency bureau and Al Jazeera’s offices in Gaza.
“A true assassination operation”
The news network condemned the assassination “in cold blood” and called on the international community to take action:
The Palestine Journalists Syndicate has also condemned the killing as “a clear assassination perpetrated by the Israeli occupation army”, holding the Israeli occupation “fully responsible for this heinous crime against press freedom”, particularly around World Press Freedom Day, marked on 8th May.
The syndicate stressed that the crime of the occupation that targeted Abu Akleh is “a deliberate and premeditated act and a true assassination operation”.
It called on a clear move to protect fellow journalists from the “continued incitement and killing practiced by the Israeli occupation and all components of the occupation”.
The EU delegation to Palestinians has also expressed “shock” over the killing of Abu Akleh, calling for “a swift and independent investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice”.
“Imperative to ensure the safety and protection of journalists covering conflicts,” the statement added.
Eyewitness says Zionist fighters were shooting to kill
Eyewitness and fellow journalist Shatha Hanaysha reported that journalists in the scene were pinned down by snipers when Abu Akleh was shot. She told Al Jazeera:
“We stood together in a collective way as journalists, then we started moving. We were shocked by the live ammunition fired at us, we reached an area that did not allow us to withdraw.”
“We were just facing the snipers. If they were not really willing to kill some of us, they could have started shooting before our arrival in this narrow area. I see this as a clear assassination of journalists,” she said.
White House calls for ‘thorough investigation’
The White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, has also condemned the assassination.
In a statement, she said:
The US Ambassador to the last remaining European colony in the Middle East also called for a probe into the killing.
Human Rights Watch say death not a ‘one-off event’
Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine Director for Human Rights Watch, said Abu Akleh’s death by Israeli forces is not unusual.
“We know that Israeli forces systematically have used excessive force,” he told Al Jazeera.
Shakir went on to describe Israeli investigations as a “whitewashed mechanism”.
“That is the assessment that’s been reached by human rights organisations including Israeli’s premier human rights organisation B’Tselem,” he said.
“When news of crimes is reported, Israeli forces regularly say they’ll investigate. The reality is there is no accountability for those sorts of abuses when it comes to actions by the Israeli authorities.”